Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Complete Center For Wooden Boats

The park that surrounds the Center For Wooden Boats is very inviting for families with young children as well as visitors to Seattle.

I volunteered to assist in renting he CWB model sailboats 

I assisted Christian, a 16 year old with a great summer job running the pond boats for the CWB.

They sail great, they are modeled after Pirate, a 39' R-11. A middle school Class built all the models used in this program, Very Cool! And the sails can be adjusted or trimmed for the wind conditions

This is Pirate

I watched in amazement as the kids and their parents learned how to sail the boats all the way across the pond with no help from us.

Some managed to organize a race, this was a close match!

The kids got lots of exercise as they had to run to the other side of the pond to retrieve their boat.

Learning how to navigate through a flock of Canada Geese.

One Sixty something yr old kid enjoyed entertaining everyone with his RC Tugboat 

Hundreds of these toy boats are used in various activities with kids the output the week at CWB, some are fashioned into sailboats, some are just painted and taken home.

A middle school age group builds their own Kyak's

They help each other and sometimes get the advice from an Old Salt
I wished I could be in this class!

Very Proud

Wetting in the epoxy

This is Levi, he runs the Livery, he taught me about the rowboats and how to tie a Turks Head and Monkey's fist.

This Is Steffan repositioning the Livery work boat, he also runs the Livery with a varying group of volunteer assistants. They rent out the rowboats, sailboats, and canoes. They maintain and repair all the livery vessels.

This mother of two young girls was my first sailing student. She plans on sharing her new found passion with her daughters. The youngest will attend next summers sailing camp.

My students did not show up so I went sailing. I explored the whole West Bank in an effort to learn more about Lake Union. Then this Tall ship entered the lake on the North end and I escorted "Adventures" back to CWB, very cool to sail alongside a Tall Ship.

And on this day my adult students were a no show so I hung around to watch the final day of sailing camp prepare to shove off in their Toros

Mindy Invited me along to observe the group of 8-12 yr olds navigate downwind to the North end and tack all the way back to CWB. Mindy used her Bull Horn to gently encourage the fleet.

The Pirate is a flagship at the CWB but you can see all sorts of wooden craft every day  in a constantly changing collection.

I think we were on this boat during a Wooden Boat Festival a few years ago The "Adventurous"

The Admiral and I sailed on Lake Union on a visit a few years ago in this Steamboat.

I'm thinking that if more sailing communities supported such rich boating activities that there will be more than just 1 United States Citizen aboard the vessel that wins the America's Cup for the USA. Don't get me wrong, I am Glad Larry Ellison was able to recruit such fine crew to Campaign the American entry in the cup but Surely along the thousands of miles of American Coastline we have fine athletes that can be developed for the Right Stuff! Thank you Oracle Team USA (the Kiwi's, Ausie's, Dutch, and French) for Keeping the cup in the USA,

The Complete Center For Wooden Boats

I say "Complete" because The CWB has the right formula to reach out and share the History of the Pacific Northwest Maritime heritage to one and all. It is not just passing along the history but also passing along the experience through hands on programs for very age. It is a PNW Holistic approach to boating. Either through on the water activities such as their public sail program where anyone can walk up and sign up to sail for free on their many different vessels, to sailing instruction, and various types of boat building for all ages. Classes include sail making, boat repair, navigation, Captains License and a full range of special topics throughout the year. Members enjoy the full range of activities and their membership fee helps fund all the activities, but non- members get to enjoy all the same activities as well, they just pay a few more dollars for those activities. 
The fun starts with the young for sure. They are the foundation for all that follows. The pond boats, toy boat crafts, sailing camp,  and other on the water activities for very young kids like canoes and rowing create the excitement and energy for the adults and adult activities. It is a true family experience about as wholesome as you can get. Their Sail Now program is designed to limit the lecture time and maximize the on the water sailing time. Very different from other instructional models I have been part of as a student. All this works in a somewhat challenging environment on Lake Union where there is constant vessel activity of all types coming and going from every possible direction, including Seaplanes. 
The Center for Wooden Boats is exceeding any other program I have seen to develop sailors of all ages. From what I have seen perhaps one of these young sailors may one day sail as crew aboard the most prestigious of all Sailing Endeavours, the America's Cup.

The America's Cup
The America's Cup has evolved into a Strange Beast for sure. But where Money talks so does the limits of Technology in 2013. And I say if you can't Beat em, Join em! I loved watching the America's Cup and thank God for Youtube since we do not get NBC sports. I watched most of the races a few days late but so what,  that is the gift of technology. By the time the final race I managed to run downstairs to a TV connected to Cable and watch Oracle Team USA Win. Computer Technology has forever changed our lives and being the optimistic person that I am I think it is great that we got to witness the fastest competitive sailing ever. The best part is all that technological development trickles down to the everyday sailor just interested in going out for a day sail or a Wednesday night Beer Can race. I just hope that one day the majority of crew representing the USA is actually US citizens. Larry Ellison used his Billions to recruit Aussie's, Kiwi's, French, English, and Dutch sailors to realize his dream. Good for Team Oracle but what about the USA?

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

The Cocoa Beans are transferred from the tow sacks to these large plastic drums and are marked with the country they came from. 

The beans go into a hopper and sucked into the big roaster where they are heated above 250 degrees to get the hulls to crack. 

Then they go by conveyor belt to the cracken machine.

Hear you can see the chocolate nibs separated from the hull. .

The cracked hulls and nibbebbs are loaded into the next hopper to separate the hulls

The nibbs are moved to the next stage where they are loaded into another hopper and sucked into the mills. 

The mills flaten out the nibbs and produce sheet of  raw chocolate

Other containers with chocolate ingredients, notice the Liquor tank is the largest!

Here the mix is rolled out like the pic our tour guide is holding below.

They have holding tanks for all the ingredients like this Organic Suger.

It all gets cooled down before entering the kitchen with all the chocolaters making the final products.  

Godd news you get 10% off after the tour.

Chocolaters making specialized confections with marshmallow 

A mighty fine taste for the tourees

last stage, packaging the product

And to think the cocoa beans start their journey from the farms in faraway places on the backs of bikes like this one on it's way to your mouth. 

The Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

We had barely been in Seattle a week when we were sent on an errand to PCC market in Freemont to get our daughter some groceries. She had bought us a Groupon from the Theo Chocolate store just down the street from Theo's so we went in to get our box of chocolates when we discovered we could take a tour of the factory. Well is is kinda like the movies, you are in an awesome smelling place where they make all kinds of chocolate all day long. Theo's Chocolate is the only factory that is totally organic and Fair Trade as well. Taking this tour you could just tell that everyone loved there job and the company they were working for. It definitely shows in their product, the best chocolate we have ever had. We shared our box with some visting friends, Martti, Cookie and their two sons, they Liked it!